Friday, October 24, 2014

Iris - WIP

It's been a long time! I started this piece way back in May or June maybe? After a long summer of planning art shows and exciting times of opening a new gallery I have finally gotten back to the drawing board. I thought I would share the process of drawing "Iris".

She is a special plant given to me by my late mother-in-law. Martha was quite a gardener. Her beds always put me to shame as we were neighbors for quite a few years. ;) But we always had gardening in common and I treasured that relationship. She had given me starts of the most beautiful irises. The contrast between the white top and deep purple falls was striking. I have wanted to do this drawing for years. So this is how it began~

The first step, after observation, was to do several studies, both in color and in graphite. I also took many photographs as the flower would not be lasting until I was finished with the drawing.

Next, I made a line drawing of the final composition on tracing paper which I transferred to my "good paper" (Fabriano Artistico hot pressed w/c paper).

I begin to lay in the values with gray colored pencils in the darkest of shadows.

And then the fun begins by adding color. 

A little closer look. This is the stage that is left on my drawing board at the moment. I hope to finish "Iris" by next week. Stay tuned......

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Botanical inspiration ~

My first experience with botanical art was with a packet of post cards of paintings of roses by Pierre Joseph Redoute. I loved them so much that I didn't send more than one or two. They were just so beautiful.

I didn't really know much about the subject of botanical art but I knew that it was what I wanted to do someday. Then one day I stumbled upon a thing called Facebook. Some might say it's a good way to waste time. And you may be right. But through friendships with other artists I was invited to join the groups Botanical Artists and Botanical Art for Beginners. I am forever grateful for the inspiration, instruction and encouragement I've experienced from these very kind, immensely talented artists. This might be a good time to say "thank you". I still have so much to learn but I am enjoying the process so much.

I have included links to a few of the botanical artists I really enjoy. I'm sure I will be adding more as I they come to mind. I hope you will take some time to look at their wonderful work.

Monday, May 19, 2014


Due to our cold snowy winter, there were quite a few casualties in the garden. Lots of damage to the roses and other shrubs. But I am amazed at how they are all bouncing back. Nature does it's own pruning sometimes. It's so encouraging to also see the flowers that survived below the surface now coming into bloom.

Today, at long last, I was able to sit down in my studio and start my first flower drawing of the season. One of my favorites, lily-of-the-valley. I love the gracefulness and simplicity of it's form.

To begin the process, I arranged the cutting in a vase and took many photos should the flowers should fade before the drawing is completed. My preliminary sketch is now finished. The next step will be to do some color sketches in my sketchbook.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fine Art Ceramic Tiles

I am trying something new this year with my botanical art drawings. Fine Art Ceramic Tiles. This is the latest in the experiment ~ Tulipa "Apricot Parrot" and bulb.

The image becomes part of the tile by a heat transfer process. It comes with a D-ring attached to the back, ready for hanging or, if you wish, may be displayed on an easel.

The tile measures 6" x 8".

The tulip joins 2 others in the series ~ a pine cone and hydrangea on 4" x 4" tiles. These come with a cork backing and may be used as coasters or displayed as a work of art.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Holly branch and berries ~

It seems with every picture I do there is a story...

I had so much fun working on this piece. I was having lunch with my friend, Vickie, and noticed the beautiful hollies she had growing in the foundation plantings around her house. I later went back and she was kind enough to let me snip a couple branches. Wrapping them in damp paper towels and sticking them in a plastic bag, I brought them home. I've had success in the past storing my botanical subjects in the fridge until I was finished with them so that is where it lived for several weeks. It made it through the Christmas season and, finally, I was ready to start the first week of January. (My family was very happy that they would soon not have to navigate around the "plant in the refrigerator" while getting out the milk jug. :) )

It was just the perfect branch. I did nothing to change the composition. I tookmany photos and made color swatches before I started in case I wouldn't finish before the leaves and berries would wilt and fall. Leaves tend to move and change color in the process. As I neared the end of the project I was very thankful for the photos and color notes. But the original holly branch served me well. I was amazed at how long it survived. (You can view the work in progress on my Flickr Photostream.)

Hydrangea ~ "Nikko Blue"

We have a hydrangea bush residing in the flower bed beside our front door. I wanted to do a colored pencil drawing of a flower head in the opening stages of bloom -- my favorite stage. I love the pastel blue, yellow, green and cream the petals begin with before the darker blue comes on as the season progresses.

As always, I draw first from a live specimen. I've found that this flower survives very well in a vase of water in the refrigerator. It lasted for weeks which was a blessing since I hadn't finished before we had taken a 7-day vacation. The flower was almost as I had left it though the leaves had changed position and started to wilt. That is why it is so important for me to take many photos and color sketches at the start.

Tulipa - "Apricot Parrot"

Part of the enjoyment I receive from botanical art is getting to know the flowers and plants from my garden on a different, more intimate level. I have always loved the frilly, multicolored shades of the Parrot tulip. This bulb was most interesting with the "sash" curving around the middle as the skin of the bulb cracked wanting to grow. So before it went into the ground, I made a drawing. Since this was a Mixture I waited  spring for the right colored flower. This one was my favorite. Hope you enjoy this bit of my garden.

"From a Late Winter's Walk"

The subjects for this page of botanical studies were collected while taking a walk in the field behind our home. These so called "weeds" were so striking set against the covering of snow. One of the things I love about botanical art is seeing the beauty in the intricacy of the ordinary.

"From a Late Winter Walk" ~ graphite ~ 16"x20"

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Frittilaria meleagris  has to be one of my favorite flowers. They rise up from the ground in the spring looking like little snakes which, I suppose, is how they have gotten the name, Snake's head fritillary. I love their unusual checkerboard pattern. Even their bulbs are interesting. I have done drawings of both the flower and bulbs which are shown here. This spring I hope to combine flowers and bulbs into a single drawing.

I have been experimenting with different planting sites in my gardens - so much a part of the gardener's life - to find where these little beauties will thrive. After several years I think I've found they are the happiest in the herb garden outside my door where I will move most of the bulbs in the fall. A perfect setting I think as they greet me each time I go out on chilly spring mornings.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pink Geraniums ~

I've always enjoyed this old-fashioned flower that stirs up memories from my childhood. One of my earliest memories is of my mom and grandma taking my younger brother and I to the local greenhouse. We each came home with a geranium - my brother's was red, mine was pink.

Last fall I brought several geraniums inside to overwinter in the house. It was nice to see something growing on my windowsills through the long, cold winter that we had this year. It will most likely soon be on the drawing board as a new botanical drawing. I'm in the mood for something pink!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WELCOME! my new blog devoted to botanical art. In the coming weeks I will begin posting the inspiration and process behind completing some of my botanical renderings of the plants and flowers found in my garden and around my home. I also hope to include posts about other botanical artists and other things of interest in the natural world.  


                Thank you for stopping by ~